Do you need a new barbecue? My definitive list of the five best Kamado grills has you covered.
Get ready for grilling, smoking, slow cooking and making delicious pies with one of these most versatile charcoal-fueled grills.
Grilling and cooking in a Kamado grill are becoming increasingly popular. Any bbq enthusiast will love the versatility of these high-quality grills. Smoking, grilling, slow-cooking, making pizza – all this is possible with a Kamado grill.
In this post, I am not only discussing the best Kamado grills and my top choices but also must-have features of a great Kamado grill.
Related post: What Is A Kamado Grill
You will notice that my choices are representing a medium price range (around $1000) because I firmly believe that you don’t have to spend a fortune in order to get a high-quality Kamado style grill.
In saying that, the average price for a Kamado grill is still reasonable higher than your average Charcoal grill.
Comparison Chart For The Best Kamado Grills
|My Top Picks||Brand||Material||Weight||Price||Description|
|Kamado Joe||Ceramic Body||188lbs||$$$||Kamado Joe is one of the most popular and well-established brands. My Top Pick and Highly recommended because of the quality, extras and life time warranty on the ceramic parts.|
Akorn Kamado Kooker
|Char-Griller||22 inch Gauge Steel||90lbs||$$||The Akorn Kamado Kooker is a well-constructed and lightweight Kamado style grill. Great value for your money.|
Vision Grills Kamado
|Vision Grills||Ceramic Body||252lbs||$$$||The Vision Grills Kamado is a solidly build grill that offers a lifetime warranty for the ceramic parts|
Broil King Keg
|Broil King||Double- steel wall design||128lbs||$$$||The Broil King Keg is a solid and sturdy but lightweight Kamado grill. Get the trailer hitch adapter and take it anywhere you go.|
Pit Boss Kamado Grill
|Pit Boss||Ceramic Body||1778lbs||$$$||The Pit Boss is another example for a great Kamado style grill. The warranty is somewhat limited.|
What My Favorite Kamado Grills Have In Common
These most versatile and sturdy grills for the passionate home cook and BBQ fan have a few things in common.
You can grill, slow cook, bake, and smoke with these versatile charcoal-fueled cookers. This is possible because of the high-quality materials used to build the Kamado. The most common material is ceramic because it retains the heat for a very long time.
The Akorn and Broiler Keg feature a body constructed of double-walled gauge steel whereas the Kamado Joe, Pit Boss, and Vision Grills are made of heavy ceramic. Therefore the latter is much heavier.
Both materials have great insulation qualities that allow the user to slow cook their favorite cut of meat, grill a juicy T-bone steak or bake a pizza at 700ºF.
It is recommended to use lump charcoal to heat up the Kamado as opposed to briquettes. Lump charcoal is more expensive than briquettes, but with a Kamado a little amount of coal will go a long way.
Lump charcoal is the product of wood that gets burned in the absence of oxygen. It lights faster, produces a higher temperature and leaves an only small amount of ashes. It is also easier to control the temperature by using the air vents on a Kamado.
A very common question is how to light lump coal, and I have described a method in my post What is a Kamado grill. Another efficient way to light the fire by using an electric fire starter or gas torch.
One important tip is: never use lighter fluid in a ceramic cooker. Why? Because the ceramic will absorb the strong smell and it is tough to get rid of it.
A Stand Or A Cart
As you can see in the comparison chart, all five Kamado grills are quite heavy especially the once with a ceramic body. A movable stand or cart is a must to move these heavy grills wherever you want them to be without breaking your back.
You will find other popular Kamado grills without a stand, but I believe that for the amount of money one is investing in their new ‘toy,’ a stand or a cart should be included in the package.
* Please note: all product links in this product review are affiliate links. That means, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
The Best Kamado Grills – Our Top Five Picks
Kamado Joe Classic 18″ Review – Best Value For Money
The Kamado Joe is more and more becoming a favorite with Kamado grill enthusiasts for excellent reasons. Hands down, it is my #1 recommended Kamado grill.
The company claims that the Kamado Joe is the “BEST BUILT, Flat out the best ceramic grill on the planet!” They back up this bold statement with a lifetime warranty on the ceramic parts and free shipping on all warranty parts.
That is fantastic and will give you peace of mind. It also speaks for the great customer service of the company.
The Kamado Joe features a generous cooking surface of 254sq inches which can be expanded up to 660sq inches by using two grates and an expander. Talk about feeding the crowd!
The grill is easy to assemble, has an accurate temperature gauge in the lid, and a slid out drawer for cleaning out the ashes.
The Kamado grill sits comfortably on a cast iron cart with locking wheels and makes it a breeze to move it around.
The Kamado Joe features its unique ‘divide and conquer’ system: You can cook on one level, or, one-half of the cooking grate sits on the upper and the other half on the lower level, closer to the coals.
With your purchase, you will get a good selection of accessories: a well-written instruction booklet, an ash tool, a grate gripper, and the Divide and Conquer Flexible Cooking System.
The Pros And Cons Of The Kamado Joe Grill At A Glance
- incredible heat retention due to the ceramic body
- most versatile, suitable for smoking, grilling, searing and baking
- foldable side shelves (enough space to hold essentials like rubs and spices, utensils, and of course some beer:-))
- a generous cooking surface
- the divide and conquer system
- patented slide-out ash drawer
- the airlift hinge is great for easy lifting of the dome
- multiple accessories included
- a lifetime warranty on the ceramic parts
- heavy but that is normal for a Kamado Grill
- ceramic is fragile so requires careful handling; that’s why the lifetime warranty is important
Overall, the Kamado Joe is my favorite recommended grill due to the high quality, fantastic warranty, and versatility. Considering the additional extras, it is great value for money.
Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker Review – Great For Newbies
The Akorn Kamado Kooker is an excellent choice for someone on a tight budget but also a perfect option for people new to Kamado cooking who are not too sure yet if they like it.
The Akorn is lightweight with only 90lbs because the body is constructed with 22-inch heavy duty steel. The cart is constructed from tubular steel with locking wheels (8″) in the front.
The cast iron cooking surface with 314sq inches is big enough to hold a large roast, and the cast iron grate will give the meat the nice charred marks everyone loves on their steaks or burgers.
My tip: season the cast iron grate; rub it with a thick slice of onion or potato before each use.
The removable ash pan is a must-have to make cleaning out the ashes a breeze. Well done, Char-Griller!
The Pros And The Cons Of The Akorn Kamado Kooker At A Glance
- Foldable metal shelves
- Available in three colors; Black, Brown, and Red
- In-built temperature gauge
- Easy-dump ash pan
- Triple walled insulation for heat retention
- A 5-year warranty for rust-through and burn-through; 1-year warranty for defective parts
- Easy to assemble
- Heat retention not as long as a Kamado with a ceramic body.
Overall, The Akorn Kamado Kooker is great value for money who want to get started with Kamado style grills and don’t want to spend too much money.
Vision Grills Kamado Review
Here is another excellent example of a kamado style grill. The Vision Grills Kamado features a ceramic body and a 2 tier stainless steel cooking grate which adds up to a massive 596sq inch cooking surface.
On the bottom of the grill, you will find a side drawer to remove the ashes. This solid grill sits on a stainless steel cart with two locking casters. The grill is even heavier than the Kamado Joe grill with 252lbs! So the cart will help you to move the Vision Grill around with ease.
Related post: The Best Recipes For A Kamado Grill
Enjoy versatile cooking with this solidly built Kamado style grill. It comes with a lifetime warranty for the ceramic parts.
Pros And Cons Of The Vision Grills Kamado At A Glance
- robust and high-quality
- cast iron top damper
- excellent heat retention due to the ceramic body
- package includes an electric fire starter
- two solid foldable side shelves
- extensive cooking surface
- a lifetime warranty for ceramic parts
- Very heavy with 252lbs!
- Some users found the gasket to be leaking and reported smoke was coming out of the openings which lead to inconsistent temperature.
Overall, the Vision Grills Kamado is a sturdy and good quality Kamado grill with an impressive lifetime warranty for the ceramic parts!
Broil King Keg Kamado Grill Review
Here is another prime example of a Kamado grill featuring a double-steel wall design instead of a ceramic body. The keg offers 280sq inches cast iron cooking grate plus an additional 200sq inches chromed cooking surface.
The included multi-tool is fantastic for lifting out the cooking grate or positioning the bottom and top damper to adjust the airflow.
Related post: The Most Useful Accessories For Kamado Grills
The removable ash pan is perfect for cleaning the Keg for the next round of BBQ.
The stand is made from an ultra sturdy steel frame with heavy-duty wheels that make it easy to move the Keg anywhere you want. A unique feature is the hitch adapter kit that allows you to take your Keg camping, to a picnic or tailgating. Pretty smart idea!
The Pros And Cons Of The Broil King Keg Charcoal Barbeque Grill At A Glance
- durable and lightweight with 126lbs
- removable side shelves for extra storage space
- heavy-duty cast iron top damper
- removable ash pan
- the multi-tool is ideal for various tasks
- accurate built-in thermometer
- handles are cool to the touch
- a limited 2-year warranty
- no ceramic body (but still high heat retention)
- limited warranty
Overall, you can’t go wrong with a Broil King Keg. I do love the hitch adapter kit.
Pit Boss Kamado 22″ Grill Review
The Pit Boss Kamado features a heavy ceramic body which is great to keep the heat in and for controlling the temperature.
The dual-tiered stainless steel cooking grates provide impressive space for grilling your burgers, mouthwatering ribs and steaks (all up 567sq inches cooking surface).
The fireproof felt edge and shock absorber are great to guide and protect the lid.
The Pit Boss doesn’t have a removable ash pan but comes with an ash removal tool. The included stand is a heavy-duty powder coated steel frame with locking casters.
The dome thermometer is easy to read, and the top vent is made of heavy-duty cast iron.
The Pros And Cons Of The Pit Boss Kamado Grill At A Glance
- two-tiered cooking surface
- cast iron top damper
- foldable bamboo shelves
- includes an ash removal tool
- no removable ash pan
Overall, the Pit Boss Kamado Grill is a solid Kamado style grill with a heavy ceramic body.
For our detailed review of the Pit Boss ceramic cooker, please click here.
A List Of Useful Accessories For A Kamado Grill
It is a great idea to invest in a cover to protect your best Kamado grill from various weather conditions. It will increase the longevity and durability of your grill.
A Pizza Stone And Heat Deflector
I have mentioned several times that a Kamado is fantastic to bake pizza since you can heat it up to 700ºF and even more. To bake a pizza you will need to get a heat deflector and a thick grill-safe pizza stone.
The heat deflector prevents the pizza from burning and creates indirect heat. Make sure to get a pizza stone that fits the size of your Kamado grill. Heat up the pizza stone together with your grill; that will prevent the stone from cracking.
[For more information read my guide How To Use A Pizza Stone.]
You also might like to consider getting a pizza peel.
Bits And Pieces
- For easy lighting the fire, I’d recommend a gas torch or electric fire starter.
- A drip pan to prevent grease from spilling into the fire. A foil-covered deep dish cast iron pizza pan will do the trick.
- A quality wire brush for cleaning the cooking grate.
- A remote probe thermometer to monitor the internal temperature while the food is cooking.
- Heavy-duty welding gloves or other heat resistant gloves.
- Long-handled tongs
As with any outdoor barbecue grill, it’s good to stick some safety precautions. As mentioned before, heat-resistant gloves are essential since the Kamado grill can heat up to high temperatures.
The body itself will feel warm to the touch, but other parts will get hot so be careful.
If you operate your grill on a wooden deck, it’s an excellent idea to place a grill mat underneath for more safety.
Be careful when you open the lid, especially when the vents have been closed, and the fire had no exposure to oxygen.
If you open the lid suddenly then the rush of oxygen can cause a huge flame. This is called a flashback and can cause severe burns.
Better be safe than sorry and always approach opening the lid with caution. The best method is to open the lid slightly and hold it open for a few seconds. Now it is safe to open the lid fully.
Let’s Recap The Pros And Cons Of A Kamado Grill
I think that a Kamado grill is a must-have for any barbecue and charcoal grill enthusiast. It is such a versatile grill and can do so much more than your average BBQ.
From grilling, smoking, baking, slow cooking your favorite cuts of meat – the Kamado grill can do it all. But, this type of grilling might not be suitable for everyone. There is a learning curve involved. But do not fear, every Kamado grill comes with clear instructions, and there are several active forums and FB groups around.
One helpful forum is KamadoGuru.com where you’ll find a wealth of knowledge posted by other Kamado users.
Here Are The Benefits Of Owning A Kamado Grill
- Due to the compact size, they fit even in small outdoor places or backyards.
- They are ready to cook in 15 minutes.
- Easy to use and to assemble.
- Needs less fuel than a regular BBQ
- Long lasting, durable, and most Kamado’s offer an incredible warranty.
- Heat Retention!
- Low maintenance.
What Are The Cons
- Quite heavy but the movable stand is helpful to keep the Kamado grill portable.
- A slight learning curve is involved.
- Ceramic can crack but thanks to a lifetime warranty with the Kamado Joe and Vision Grills no worries there.
- The average price is higher than for a traditional charcoal grill.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does A Kamado Style Grill Cost More Than A BBQ Grill?
A Kamado Style Grill costs on average between $800 to $2000. The more expensive Kamado grills use heavy ceramic and stainless steel or cast iron grates. The quality of the material is of very high standard and requires excellent craftsmanship.
Kamado grills are built to last. So in the long-term investing in a Kamado style grill is more cost effective than buying a BBQ grill every few years.
What Is The Best Pizza Stone For A Kamado Grill
A suitable pizza stone for a Kamado grill is usually a bit thicker than a ‘normal’ pizza stone. There is a huge selection on Amazon available for each of the discussed grillers.
Choose one that fits the size of your Kamado, and you should be fine. Most manufacturers recommended the best suitable grill. Here is a great example of a pizza stone.
What Fuel Should I Use?
As mentioned before, most manufacturers recommend using lump charcoal because it heats up quickly and produces only a small amount of ashes. It costs more than the usual charcoal, but you’ll need only a little bit.
Why Have Kamado Grills Become So Popular?
More and more people appreciate the durability and longevity of a Kamado style grill. Not only are they suitable for smaller spaces but are hugely versatile.
You can grill, smoke, slow cook, bake and use it as a wood-fired pizza oven. They heat up in under 15 minutes due to the use of the top and bottom vents.
Wrapping It Up
I do hope my guide has helped you to decide on which Kamado grill might be the best choice for you.
Enjoy your new grill and have fun with your family and friends at your next BBQ. Enjoy juicy steaks, slow-cooked brisket or tasty burgers with a nice chargrilled flavor.
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I do love to hear from you! What is your top choice and why? Please leave a comment below.
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well talk about luck—with the nice weather getting here I was just looking for a new grill when I came across your page.that kamodo joe looks really amazing–and you know you cant beat the taste of food cooked over charcoal–way better then those gas grills where does one find lump charcoal? also i was wondering -because I like to grill in the freezing winter too-is it safe to have the grill outdoors in the winter or do we have to worry about the ceramics breaking?—–come on BBQ !!
Hi Vic, you can order lump char coal online on Amazon. Here is the link. There are no problems to use the Kamado grill in freezing temperatures. The ceramic won’t break as far as I know and heard from other users.
I would recommend to get a cover for the grill to keep it protected from the elements.(if you are planning to keep the grill outdoors)
You never know what you don’t know. I had never even heard of a kamado grill before. They seem really cool, just a bit out of my price range for the back yard bbq. I’m on year three with a 20$ yard sale grill woot woot! I don’t skimp when it comes to my cast iron wok, but the whole grill is just a bridge too far for this old boy. I do appreciate the knowledge though. Now I will sound really sophisticated when I drop my kamado grill talk around all my friends haha.
Hey Jeff, well done you for having your grill for three years. Most bbq nowadays don’t last that long. It probably depends on how well the owners are looking after it though.
I am glad you picked up a few things about Kamado grills and maybe, one day, you want to get your own. Spread the word and let your friends know about it.
Happy grilling and cheers for your comment!
Your artical is quite interesting. I have never heard of a Kamado grill. I have owned many Bar-B-Que grills in my lifetime, but I have never seen the Kamado grill in stores.
I understand that the Kamado is made using ceramic and that is why it retains the heat longer…
I live in an apartment where grillers of any kind are not allowed, but I am still going to keep an eye out for the Kamado grill whenever I go to a store that sells grills.
Hi there, Ed, thanks so much for your comment.You are right, the inside of a Kamado grill is usually made of ceramic and that’s why the heat retention is so superior.
It is a shame that you are not allowed to have a BBQ but I guess it has to do with safety reasons.
Yes, please keep an eye out for Kamado style grills. More and more people are interested in getting one for their backyard.
All the best from Anke
As one who uses an outdoor grill often, this is the most complete rundown of information I have ever seen on this grill. I had no idea you can cook a pizza in here (another subject upon which I am well versed).
Yes these grills are relatively expensive, but if you have never seen one, they are substantial and worth every penny. And lump charcoal on any grill seems to burn hotter and longer.
I particularly liked the safety information, specifically the flashback information. This can truly keep someone from getting hurt.
Hi there Warren, thanks so much for your feedback. A Kamado grill does take some initial investment but as you said it’s worth it in the long run.
I am glad, you found the safety information helpful. Everyone needs to be familiar with the issues that can occur when operating any kind of grill. Better be safe than sorry!
All the best from Anke
Kamado grills sound like the bomb! My brother has a ceramic grill of a competing brand, but it sounds like several of the Kamado models have it beat! I’ve always liked the taste of food cooked over wood, and am definitely going to look at these grills when it comes time to replace my tired old aluminum over cast-iron model. Very complete informative post, thanks!
Hi, Bobby, that is awesome that your brother already owns a Kamado grill.That is great to hear. So you have first-hand experience and expert advice at your fingertips.
Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post!
Happy Grilling – Anke